My mom, Cyndy Shires, is my inspiration. She gave me my first pony and riding lesson! I am forever grateful. I grew up on Gold Leaf Farm, which my mom still owns and operates. She trains horses with her partner Richard Watson, a Grand Prix Jumper Rider and Trainer. The farm was the host farm during the 1970s for the Canadian Event Team and we held horse trials, clinics, and dressage shows at the farm until 1989. As a young woman, I showed hunters, pony jumpers, and also competed in novice level horse trials. I was also a member of the Tuscawilla Pony Club (lots of fun and games on horseback!)

Like many amateurs, I stopped showing while I attended college and during the beginning of my professional career, but I worked as a groom and rider for “A” rated hunter barns until my first professional job in 1998. (A highlight was grooming for a member of the Puerto Rican Event Team in England!) I now have more free time to focus on showing and riding again and my goal is to earn my bronze, silver, and gold medals from the United States Dressage Federation!

I decided to publish the audio books of the classical horse books to further my dressage education. I selected books that were on the United States Dressage Federation’s recommended reading list and that would also have a broad appeal to all levels of riders. Reading these books, for the audio and as a hard copy, has enriched my understanding of dressage. I enjoyed reading about Xenophon’s principles of treating horses with kindness and was amused by his humor and I am especially fascinated by François Robichon de la Guérinière’s book. Guérinière was the first person that took shoulder-in off a circle and straight ahead on the long side and he called it the “alpha and omega of all exercises.”

The School of Horsemanship by de la Guérinière is on the United States Dressage Federation’s for the “L” Education Program for dressage judges, participants, and auditors. The Art of Horsemanship by Xenophon is on the United States Dressage Federation’s for the Instructor Certification Program.

I work part-time for the Conservation Trust for Florida, Inc. (a non-profit land trust, www.conserveflorida.org) and I was the Executive Director for over seven years before becoming the Assistant Executive Director in October 2010. I work for CTF to help farm families preserve their land as they consider long-term management and conservation goals for their farms.

Finally, thank you to Cindy Liberton at Next Steps Collective for her beautiful design of the website and for her expert advice on setting up the site. Thanks also to Bob McPeek at Mirror Image Recording Studio for working his magic and making the audio tracks sound so great.